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[UPDATED] Cyanogen founder Steve Kondik confirms reports of internal plight

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From the insistent reports which have been pouring in left and right for the past couple of months, we had guessed that there was definitely something wrong back at the Cyanogen HQ. But, we didn’t expect the news of an utter turmoil, which has plagued the Android-focused software company.

Post the reports of Cyanogen mulling the decision to cut down on operations and shutter its ‘bigger’ Seattle office, founder Steve Kondik took to the official CyanogenMod developer Google+ community to shine a light on recent events.

In the said statement, Kondik has finally opened up about what this ambitious project actually meant for him and how he wanted to reach a much larger and focused audience with the ‘Inc.’ setup. The official statement in the Google+ community reads:

We started the Inc with the intent to bring CM to more people and ship on devices out of the box. We got the project in order after years of technical debt and started to have some successes with our first devices.

But the Cyanogen he fondly remembers has now been replaced with dark and sadistic rain clouds – yeah, I’m referring to the former CEO (now Executive Chairman) Kirt McMaster. Kondik further goes to explain that the two of them initially started off on the wrong foot and the vision deteriorated from there. Cyanogen, which was once a happy and open developer community, became a completely worthless and terrible place to work.

Kondik, in his statement, has indirectly mentioned the primary reason for the failure of Cyanogen and the company losing its vision is his co-founder. He mentions that McMaster was unhappy running the business and his moronic media comments about ‘bullet to the head’ only added fuel to the disgust – a strong word – and embarrassment of the company as a whole. Kondik says that he used all of his energy to protect Cyanogen – his baby, his brainchild – from the said plight but there seems to be no way out of it.

Commenting on the same, Kondik mentions:

My co-founder [McMaster] apparently became unhappy with running the business and not owning the vision. This is when the “bullet to the head” and other misguided media nonsense started, and the bad business deals were signed. Being second in command, all I could do was try and stop it, do damage control, and hope every day that something new didn’t happen. The worst of it happened internally and it became a generally s***ty place to work because of all the conflict. I think the backlash from those initial missteps convinced him that what we had needed to be destroyed.

For building a team and bringing certain people onboard, Kondik doesn’t turn the blame cannon his way. Instead, he goes on to criticize his luck and is now moving ahead with his head hung low. He wants nothing to do with Cyanogen – the company he founded but is keen on taking off with the open developer community. This, however, might not be possible as the community shares its name with the software company in question.

Kondik is cutting himself loose and plans to start something fresh. He is pretty bummed about the loss of Cyanogen and doesn’t have any concrete plans. But he has shared some questions asking his fellow developers for advice on what to do next. He is currently mulling over the decision to launch a rebranded version of the CyanogenMod ROM through a crowdfunding campaign and turn it into a non-profit organization. But, he’s now looking for input on how to play the game differently and not get caught in legal troubles.

The main IP is the brand and trademarks. I don’t know if I can get it back without a fight, and I’m tired of fighting. We will likely need to fork and rebrand, which might not be a bad thing. Would you support it?,

he adds.

[UPDATE / Dec 1, 10:00 p.m] – The reports of the founder Steve Kondik leaving Cyanogen has been confirmed by Lior Tal, the now CEO of the company via a blog post. It also confirms the reports of Cyanogen shutting its Seattle office and moving to Silicon Valley for the next phase of the company.

Earlier this week I shared the plan to consolidate Cyanogen’s sites into a single team in Palo Alto by the end of the year, offering the Seattle employees an option to relocate to California. 

With these changes, Cyanogen has separated ties with Steve Kondik, allowing him to continue to forge his path as he sees fit. We wish him the best of luck in his next venture. 

Finally, Steve Kondik can move away from all the chaos and work freely on building another Android-focused dev community. We wish him all the best for his next venture.

A hands-on guy fascinated by new apps, technologies and enterprise products.

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